Oakland County Executive David Coulter Names COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force Membership

First-round grants awarded to 797 small businesses

Leaders from business, education, health care, a non-profit agency, labor and government have been named to the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force to advise County Executive David Coulter and the Oakland County Board of Commissioners on strategies to help stabilize the county’s economy and recover from the downturn caused by the pandemic.

The task force was to begin meeting regularly on April 28 to provide Coulter, the board and the Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs with recommendations the county can use as it plans for its eventual emergence from the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m confident this bipartisan group of men and women will provide insightful and practical guidance for me and my leadership team as well as the board of commissioners,” Coulter said. “We need to take immediate steps to stabilize our small businesses and non-profit organizations. These individuals have extensive knowledge and wide-ranging experiences across the spectrum that will be useful as we make critical decisions about Oakland County’s future. I’m grateful for their leadership and willingness to serve.”

The leadership team is comprised of co-chairs:

  • Alan Kiriluk, founder and chairman of KIRCO, a Troy-based real estate development, construction and property management company
  • Pete Provenzano, chancellor of Oakland Community College
  • Shannon Striebich, president of St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital
  • Barbara Whittaker, a procurement and supply chain expert and president of BW Limited

The remaining task force members are:

  • Chris Barnett, Orion Township supervisor
  • Deb Brinson, Honor Community Health CEO
  • Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson, Oakland Schools superintendent
  • Patty Corkery, Michigan Credit Union League general counsel
  • Eric Dietz, Huntington National Bank regional president
  • Dr. Darienne Driver, United Way of South East Michigan president/CEO
  • Mike Fournier, Royal Oak mayor
  • Mike Gingell, Oakland County Board of Commissioners member
  • Tom Kelly, Automation Alley executive director/CEO
  • Gerald Lang, UAW Local 5960 vice president
  • Frank Rewold, Frank Rewold & Sons president/CEO
  • Bill Roberts, Roberts Restaurant Group proprietor
  • Mike Sarafa, Vision Growth Partners managing partner
  • Robert Skandalaris, Quantum Ventures chairman/CEO
  • Rachel Tronstein, Gardner White president
  • David Woodward, Oakland County Board of Commissioners chairman
  • Christian Wuerth, Village of Milford manager
  • Patricia Yulkowski, Total Door CEO

The task force will focus on two phases: stabilization and recovery. As businesses begin to reopen, the task force will help identify county strategies to help accelerate and sustain the rebound from the economic slowdown. It will review how operations and services may change and make recommendations on how the county can support local businesses and organizations and help them rebound.

The county has already begun to help struggling small businesses. On April 24, the county awarded Small Business Stabilization Fund grants averaging $2,800 to 797 small businesses. The grants provide an immediate infusion of capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utilities or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business.

Coulter said the overwhelming need prompted him to ask the board of commissioners for a second round of funding to support Oakland County businesses. The board is expected to consider the request at its meeting on April 29. Information regarding the grant program and first round awardees may be found here.

Gown production underway at Vaughn Custom Sports in Oxford, one of two local businesses that received a grant to transition its manufacturing to produce personal protective equipment. (Photo courtesy of Vaughn Custom Sports)

A second fund awarded two grants to local businesses who transitioned their manufacturing to producing personal protective equipment for health care workers and first responders. Other grants are expected to be announced this week, Coulter said.